SARID and Sisters of Charity Ottawa (SCO), aka the team, are working jointly to build a prototype energy efficient structure in Lesotho to be used for housing the elderly. SCO is funding the project, while SARID is providing the building technology and technical expertise pro bono. Local Architects, Engineers and Contractors are collaborating and volunteering their time.
SARID is focused on finding ways to increase affordability in poorer countries by relying more on indigenous and recyclable resources, engaging more of the unemployed and the unskilled labor, increasing affordability and energy efficiency of buildings, and enhancing local manufacturing.
Construction cost of the units are expected to be 30% cheaper than comparable structures in masonry or other competing technologies, and 70% cheaper over the life of the project ( Life assumed to be 40 years for purposes of comparison - and takes in to consideration maintenance cost as well as operation cost vis-a-vis heating and cooling).
team has also initiated a vocational training center - in the hope of teaching
the unemployed building skills. The first batch of volunteers ended up building the structure. Most of these volunteers had only secondary school education, were previously unemployed, and had little or no prior experience in construction. After being trained the volunteers have learnt carpentry skills, use of hand tools, and other building /construction skills. SCO provided not only free training but as an incentive also provided food and a stipend. The hope is that the skills learnt will improve
their chances of employment in the construction industry.
The proprietary technology, offered at no charge to SCO, has both passive heating and cooling capabilities. It will keep the structure cool in summer and warm in winter. The proposed SARID structure will be significantly more energy efficient than current structure types in Lesotho or South Africa - which are primarily masonry (poorly insulated) blocks which tend to get hot in summer and cold in winter.
The structure will be well insulated and will use 4,000 recycled waste polystyrene (Styrofoam) lunch boxes as insulation. Currently these lunch boxes are burnt, considered trash, causing an irreversible ecological damage, ozone depletion and contributing to global warming.
SARID is also looking into other waste to recycle and incorporate within the built structure.
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